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Fantasy take on Richardson blockbuster

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Colts shocked the NFL world Wednesday when they traded a first-round pick in 2014 to the Browns for running back Trent Richardson. And they're going to waste little time in showing off their new toy.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Richardson will play in Week 3 at San Francisco despite little practice time or preparation to learn the new playbook. The Colts plan to give Richardson "as much as he can handle," according to Pagano.

"We didn't bring him in to be the water boy," Pagano said.

We like that Pagano is being bullish about Richardson, but you have to be a little skeptical about his workload against the 49ers. He didn't arrive in Indianapolis until Thursday and the Colts should already have a game plan in place featuring Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown.

It won't be difficult for Richardson to learn the rushing plays, but it's doubtful the Colts will trust him to protect Andrew Luck in passing situations. Bradshaw will probably remain on the field when the Colts are throwing and Indianapolis could be playing from behind against a motivated 49ers team coming off an embarrassing loss to Seattle.

It's also a tough matchup against the 49ers defense, so you should be cautious with Richardson this week. He should be considered a flex option at best depending on your roster -- his best days definitely lie ahead.

The move to Indianapolis should allow Richardson to be a top 10 Fantasy running back after a slow start. Through two games, Richardson has struggled with just 31 carries for 105 yards and seven catches for 51 yards. Those numbers should skyrocket, starting in Week 4 at Jacksonville when Richardson will be up to speed with his new team.

The trade obviously crushed Bradshaw's Fantasy value, and you shouldn't start him against the 49ers. Just when things were starting to look up after Vick Ballard (knee) went down, Bradshaw is now relegated to reserve duty behind Richardson. He will still play a role, but he's not going to start for Fantasy owners any time soon.

We wouldn't cut Bradshaw just yet because Richardson has struggled with injuries to start his career. Even though he missed just one game as a rookie in 2012, he's already had knee surgery, played through broken ribs and dealt with a shin injury this preseason.

If there's someone out there you need and Bradshaw is the only one to drop then do it, but don't discard him on a whim. He could still be the third-down back for the Colts, which would give him some value in PPR leagues.

One move we would condone is dropping Bradshaw for Willis McGahee, who will replace Richardson in Cleveland. You'd be getting a starter for a reserve -- even if McGahee's outlook is murky with the Browns.

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The last time we saw McGahee was Week 11 last year for the Broncos when he broke his leg. Prior to going down, McGahee had 167 carries for 731 yards and four touchdowns and 26 catches for 221 yards, and he had at least eight Fantasy points in five of the nine full games he appeared in. The Broncos decided to cut him this offseason after drafting rookie Montee Ball.

McGahee only got a recent tryout with the Giants after Week 1 and his best days are clearly behind him. He'll be 32 in October, but CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported in August that McGahee was in "great shape."

He could end up paying off for Fantasy owners as a potential flex option, but don't go overboard in trying to acquire him in most standard leagues. He's not going to save your season, especially if Richardson struggles for the Browns.

The earliest we'll likely see McGahee is Week 4 against the Bengals since he's not expected to play in Week 3 at Minnesota. Even if he does you shouldn't consider using him in the majority of leagues.

In the meantime, look for the Browns to go with Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya against the Vikings. So far this season, Ogbonnaya has no carries and three catches for 34 yards. He was a reserve in 2012 with eight carries for 30 yards and 24 catches for 187 yards. But in 2011, Ogbonnaya started four games and finished the season with 73 carries for 334 yards and a touchdown and 23 catches for 165 yards. Rainey, who spent 2012 on the practice squad for the Ravens, has yet to touch the ball this year or in the NFL.

Rainey will likely handle rushing duties with Ogbonnaya playing on passing downs. Since Cleveland will likely be trailing at Minnesota, we give Ogbonnaya the edge this week. Long-term, these two running backs have minimal value unless McGahee gets hurt.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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Player News
49ers looking to extend Michael Wilhoite
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(4/17/2015) After the unexpected retirements of two linebackers, the 49ers are looking to lock up Michael Wilhoite to a contract extension. 

Wilhoite is an exclusive rights free agent, but GM Trent Baalke told the media he hopes to negotiate a long-term deal. 

"We’re working on something with him as we speak … He’s kind of in a unique situation. He was kind of caught in a numbers deal," Baalke said, per SFGate.com.


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(4/17/2015) Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans likes the changes that the team has made to its defense in the offseason.

"We got better on the outside, which we struggled at last year,” Ryans said, per ESPN. “We had a lot of struggles there on the outside at the corner position, so I feel we've upgraded there with (Byron) Maxwell , a guy that you've seen make a lot of plays for the Seahawks. A guy like Kiko (Alonso), who his rookie year was a really outstanding player, up for defensive rookie of the year, a playmaker all over the field, and another guy in (Walter) Thurmond , who is expected to definitely push guys to be the starting corner on the other side. So I feel like we upgraded at a lot of positions, and I feel like it's really going to improve our defense."


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(4/17/2015) Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler hasn't had much playing time, as Peyton Manning's backup, but coach Gary Kubiak wants to see progress from him.

"I think it's time for Brock to take a big step as a player," Kubiak said, per NFL.com. "A lot of times in this league, the young quarterbacks don't get the opportunity to be behind a player of Peyton's status and learn before they get the opportunity in this league ... I think Brock needs to take advantage of this. But he's going to be very competitive. I'm very impressed with his skills. I'm very impressed with how hard he works in the classroom. I know he's got all of the ability."


Kubiak: Broncos will run no-huddle with Peyton Manning
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(4/17/2015) Gary Kubiak said he plans to take advantage of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning when designing the Broncos' offense for next season. 

We'll definitely be running the hurry-up offense," Kubiak said per NFL.com. "Peyton's been the best at the business at it for many years, so that's a strength that we'll stay with."

That doesn't mean everything will be the same for Manning. Kubiak said he planned on having Manning under center more than in recent seasons. 


Steelers claim LS Brandon Hartson off waivers
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(4/17/2015) The Steelers announced on Friday that they claimed long snapper Brandon Hartson off of waivers. 

Hartson was waived by the Chiefs on Thursday. 


S Chris Banjo signs EFA tender with Packers
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(4/17/2015) Packers safety Chris Banjo signed his exclusive-rights tender on Friday, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The tender is good for one year and is worth $585,000 for the 2015 season. 


Trent Baalke praises 49ers LB Aldon Smith's offseason work ethic
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has had plenty of off-field issues since entering the NFL.

After serving a nine-game suspension a year ago for violating the NFL's personal-conduct and substance-abuse policy, Smith returned and only tallied two sacks. 

The time off followed by sub-par performances has ignited Smith on the practice field thus far, according to general manager Trent Baalke. 

"He’s probably in as good a shape as he’s been in a long time," Baalke said, via the San Jose Mercury News. "He’s starting to develop into a leader out there, which is good to see and been a pleasure to watch."

Baalke knows that Smith has an uphill climb in repairing his image. But while Smith attempts to do so, Baalke wanted the San Francisco media to know that Smith is doing what he can to improve ont he playing field. 

“He’s got a great look in his eye,” Baalke said. “He’s doing well. I look forward to having you guys visit with him.”


WR Greg Jennings still available on free-agent market
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(4/17/2015) Greg Jennings is back home in Minnesota but still without a new NFL team. 

The free-agent receiver recently visited the Saints but left without signing a contract, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Jennings has also visited the Dolphins, Panthers and Jaguars. 

Jennings caught 59 passes for 742 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. Assuming he does find a team for 2015, Jennings will enter his 10th NFL season. 


Ravens' Supernaw, Trawick, Melvin, Jensen sign EFA tenders
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(4/17/2015) The Ravens announced on Friday that tight end Phillip Supernaw, safety Brynden Trawick, cornerback Rashaan Melvin and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen signed their exclusive-rights free agent tenders.

Supernaw was mostly a reserve in 2014 and had two catches for 27 yards. Trawick is a backup safety that plays on special teams coverage units. Melvin was signed off of the Dolphins' practice squad after injuries decimated the cornerbacks. Jensen was a 2013 draft pick that ended up spending the majority of 2014 on the practice squad.

 


49ers RB Carlos Hyde down to 220 pounds
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(4/17/2015) 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said running back Carlos Hyde has trimmed down to around 220 pounds so far this offseason, according to the Sacramento Bee

Hyde was listed at 235 pounds during the 2014 season, which would mean Hyde has lost somewhere int he area of 15 pounds. Baalke said that Hyde hasn't been in the 220 range since his early days in college at Ohio State and that he's looking "extremely good."

Hyde will compete with Reggie Bush for starting tailback duties this preseason, though both should contribute quite a bit in the 49ers' backfield. Bush, 30, was signed by the 49ers after the Lions released him this offseason. 


 
 
 
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